Leading spirits companies are furious over United Distillers’ move to push for an end to the voluntary ban on television advertising for spirits.
Allied Domecq, which owns leading spirits brands such as Teacher’s whisky and Beefeater gin, has slammed the Guinness spirits arm for breaking ranks over the industry consensus by pushing for liberalisation.
An Allied Domecq spokesman says: “We are surprised UD should decide on unilateral independence on this issue. The fact that one brand is pushing may be indicative that it hasn’t been enjoying the success it could have. We are in no rush to use TV.”
Other manufacturers are understood to have been angered by UD’s move, fearing it could spark a backlash by pressure groups and the Government leading to a total ban on TV ads for liqueur brands such as International Distillers and Vintners’ Baileys Irish Cream and Allied Domecq’s Tia Maria.
It is thought the present Government would receive TV ads for spirits favourably, but a future Labour Government could be more inclined to legislate on TV advertising for alcoholic drinks and cigarettes.
Guinness says a total ban on ads for liqueurs as well as spirits would be of little concern to it as it has no liqueur brands.
“UD has nothing to lose from a total spirits and liqueurs TV ban,” says one observer, “because it has no liqueurs.”